Is performance appraisal in your organisation an annual ritual where some mysterious number (derived from equally mysterious method called a “fitting into bell curve”) decides what you will be paid for next one year, whether you will be promoted or not, quantum of performance linked pay?
Does feedback consist of sermon on how you could have done better, how smart your boss is and how he would have handled the same situation differently?
Does sermon end up with some areas for improvement and you are told to attend some training programs as and when they happen?
Are no efforts made to understand your strengths and weakness, no coaching, no mentoring? Not to mention you end up getting lower than expected increments and promotion goes to someone else.
Do you end up feeling devalued and cheated and promise yourself that you will quit ASAP?
Appraisal system starts with noble intention i.e. to give employee feedback on his performance and help him to reach his potential, but somewhere the administrative aspect dominates the developmental aspect, and the plot is lost.
Many appraisers cannot distinguish between appraisal feedback, coaching and mentoring. They feel by giving sermons they are doing everything in one shot. But impact on employee is anything but positive.
Everyone is curious to know how he is performing- he needs feedback on his performance. The feedback should be based on fact and judgement free, something like video recording.
During career transitions or while taking additional responsibilities, an employee may see his performance going down, here he need guidance from expert who is regularly watching his performance. He also needs to commit himself to goals and timelines to achieve the desired level of performance. Here someone who is constantly observing his performance can play role of a coach.
Mentoring has different purpose; it is about getting tips from your role model on how to achieve your career goals. The mentor can help you to seek clarity on your goals by asking questions. Unlike coaching, you need not be under direct observation.
Another good developmental tool to understand is 360 degree feedback. It can make you aware of those aspects of personality which may not come out in normal appraisal.
The combination of fact-based and judgement free feedback, 360 degree feedback with coaching and mentoring, wherever required, will make performance appraisal a useful tool rather than annual ritual.